(At the NY Waterway near the Brooklyn Bridge.)
Sweethearts write their names or initials on the padlock and throw away the key to symbolize a love that “cannot be broken.”
Apparently started 100 years ago when a soldier went to war and fell in love with another woman, breaking his vow to his sweetheart at home. Since then love locks were seen as a wish, if not a promise, to keep love safely “locked.”
It has become common in the last few years specially in tourist areas, that it has been considered a form of littering and even vandalism. There is a “No Love Locks” movement in Paris and other places.
Does it work? Maybe. Not in a superstitious way but in the psychological commitment that could come from the act. Something similar to marriage vows in front of family, friends and community. But I guess just like other expressions of commitment, it really depends on how serious the commitment was in the first place — and the desire to work together to make the relationship work. That’s much harder than putting a padlock on a fence.